Dogs want everything you’re eating. Whether it’s a sandwich, a burger, or fries, if it’s good enough for you, they see absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be good enough for them. Unfortunately, dogs don’t always know what’s good for them. Some foods they’d happily wolf down aren’t exactly healthy. Some might even be downright dangerous. But what about the humble potato chip? Can you freely invite your dog to share a bowl without worrying about their health? Or does something nasty lurk within that crispy goodness?
Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips?
As petconsider.com notes, while dogs can technically eat potato chips, it’s not necessarily the most advisable thing for them to do. Even those ‘healthy’ oven-baked chips can often be laden with all kinds of ingredients that aren’t going to do your pet’s health one little bit of good. If they snaffle a small handful once in a blue moon, nothing catastrophic will happen. But making a point of feeding them chips as a treat is generally not the wisest of moves.
Why Are Potato Chips Bad For Dogs?
If you drop a potato chip on the floor and your dog hoovers it up before you can stop them, don’t panic. In small amounts, potato chips won’t hurt. But that by no means suggests you should be feeding them to your dog with impunity. Even though potato chips are made from harmless potatoes (which, unless you’re on a carb-free diet, aren’t anything to be frightened of regardless of whether you stand on two legs or four), there’s nothing in a packet of potato chips that’s going to do your dog’s health any good whatsoever. Ultimately, potato chips are just empty calories, and if there’s one thing most dogs don’t need more of, it’s empty calories. They could also stand to do without any of the following:
Zero Nutritional Value
Look at the ingredients on a pack of potato chips. See anything that stands out as valuable? It’s unlikely… potato chips might be tasty, but they carry about as much nutritional value as the plastic packaging they come in. Dogs need a balanced diet with plenty of protein, good carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Potato chips might have carbs (but as we’ll see shortly, this isn’t necessarily something to be celebrated in this case) but as for anything else that’s even remotely connected to a balanced, complete diet, you’re out of luck. There are no vitamins, no minerals, no healthy fats. Nothing, in fact, that your dog needs. There is, however, plenty of things they don’t need, including processed oil, fat, sodium, and probably a hefty dose of flavor enhancers and additives. Some manufacturers like to advertise their chips as ‘healthy.’ Most of the time, they’re no such thing. A sweet potato or carrot chip might have a fraction more goodness than a regular chip, but you’d still be far better off feeding your dog an actual carrot or sweet potato.
A dog’s diet should contain a healthy source of carbohydrates. But that source needs to be a) wholesome and b) limited. Too much of the wrong kind of carbs will send their weight soaring through the roof. The simple carbohydrates in potato chips will give your dog a quick, temporary boost in energy, but pretty soon, they’ll be feeling peckish again. If you don’t want your dog’s weight to start creeping up the scales (and if you’d rather avoid obesity-related problems like heart disease, pancreatitis, and even certain cancers), make sure they keep their paws off the potato chips.
Sodium is essential. Without it, the body can’t function. But too much of a good thing can often be a very, very bad thing indeed. The high sodium content in potato chips might spell bad news for your own health, but it spells even worse news for your dog. Unless you’re dealing with a large breed, most dogs are a lot smaller than us. As a result, they need less of everything… fewer calories, fewer carbs, and defiantly less sodium. The amount of sodium in a packet of potato chips might not seem too much for you (although you might be surprised how quickly some varieties take you to your recommended daily allowance) but for a dog, it’s huge…and way, way more than they should be getting.
Certain types of fat are ok for your dog. In fact, they’re more than ok – they’re essential. Fish oils, coconut oils, flaxseed oil, healthy sources of animal fats… all of these will help keep your dog’s coat lustrous, their eyes bright, and their systems ticking over. Processed vegetable fats of the kind found in potato chips, on the other hand, have zero place in your dog’s diet. They won’t help their coat, they won’t strengthen their immunity, and they won’t keep their heart healthy… they won’t do anything, in fact, other than make your dog unhealthy and overweight.
Most packs of potato chips come with almost as many additives as they do chips. Next time you buy a pack, take a look at the ingredients list on the back. If most of the ingredients are spelled out with numbers rather than letters, and if even those with letters are completely unpronounceable, it’s probably not something you should be feeding your dog.
What Happens When You Feed a Dog Potato Chips?
If your dog sticks its nose into a pack of potato chips without you realizing it, don’t panic. A mouthful or two on a rare occasion isn’t going to do them any harm. The problems start when a rare occasion becomes a frequent one, and that mouthful becomes a whole pack. Not only can too many chips on a regular basis lead to weight gain and obesity related problems, but it can also result in salt poisoning, an unpleasant condition with symptoms that, as dogfoodgenius.com notes, include the following:
- Excessive drinking
- Excessive urination
- Staggered gait
- Swelling of the limbs
- Stomach ache
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Potato Chips?
If you notice that your dog has somehow managed to find a packet of potato chips from somewhere, take the advice of dogtime.com and remove the packet from them straight away (presuming they haven’t eaten them all already). Monitor them closely over the next 24 hours. In all likelihood, they’ll display no ill effects. However, if they show any of the symptoms outlined above, a trip to the vet might be in order.